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Tyrannosaurus rex

This weekend, Jurassic Park celebrates its 20th anniversary with a 3D re-release likely to captivate and terrify audiences just as it did in 1993. During the development of the film Jurassic Park, director Steven Spielberg enlisted the team at Stan Winston Studio to design and build many of the realistic-looking dinosaurs seen in the movie.

Surprisingly, Jurassic Park contains only 15 total minutes of dinosaur footage, and 9 minutes of those are purely the work of Stan Winston Studio. Winston, who died in 2008, was instrumental in many blockbusters, winning Academy Awards for best visual effects in Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and Jurassic Park. We look at a few special behind-the-scenes images and videos captured while Winstons studio created the Tyrannosaurus rex, Brachiosaurus, Velociraptor, and Dilophosaurus.

According to the Stan Winston School blog, Spielberg courted Winston to do a large portion of the Jurassic Park special effects after his work on the alien queen in Aliens.

Steven figured that if we could build a 14-foot-tall alien queen, wed be able to build a 20-foot-tall T.rex, Winston said at the time. But that was a somewhat assumption on Stevens part. There was a big difference between building that alien queen and building a full-size dinosaur. The queen was exoskeletal, so all of its suces were hard. There were no muscles, no flesh, and there was no real weight to it. The alien queen also didnt have to look like a real, organic animal because it was a fictional character -- so there was nothing in real life to compare it to. There was just no comparison in the difficulty level of building that alien queen and building a full-size dinosaur.

When Spielberg asked Winston if he wanted the job, Winston recalled saying, Yes, absolutely. Spielberg said, How are you going to do it? Winston replied, I havent got a clue. But well figure it out.

This image shows the framework of an early pre-production one-fifth-scale T.rex sculpting stand. After applying clay to achieve the desired form, the model serves as a reference during sculpting a full-size puppet. Animators at Industrial Light and Magic also scan the model and embed that likeness into digital shots.

April 7, 2013 6:59 AM PDT

Photo by: Stan Winston School of Character Arts

Caption by: Christopher MacManus